Just weeks after DC and Warner Bros. announced a direct-to-video animated adaptation of Alan Moore’s (Watchmen) Batman: The Killing Joke, Collider has confirmed that Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series) will not only return as the Clown Prince of Crime, but has already recorded his lines for the movie.
As mentioned in our previous article, Hamill publicly said that he would come out of retirement for the character. For many Bat-Fans, Hamill’s portrayal is the definitive version of the character despite widely acclaimed performances from Jack Nicholson (Batman) and Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) in live-action version, as well as John DiMaggio (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Michael Emerson (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) who lent their voices to the character in other animated adaptations.
You’re not the only one w/ fingers crossed! https://t.co/PcKlgRQFaU
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) July 17, 2015
One interesting aspect of this announcement is that it will be the first time Hamill provides the voice to the character before he becomes the Joker. The Killing Joke includes a flashback story that portrays the character as a failed comedian who gets involved with some gangsters to rob a chemical plant in order to provide for his pregnant wife. When the job goes bad, he falls into a vat of chemicals. The 1993 animated movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm showed the character as a silent mobster before the transformation, so Hamill never provided any voice work.
Sam Liu (Batman: Year One) is directing The Killing Joke. He has directed a number of of DC’s direct-to-video animated features, including an adaptation of All-Star Superman, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, as well as episodes of the short-lived animated series Beware the Batman. Batman: Year One and All-Star Superman were very faithful to their source material, so it’s safe to assume this one will follow suit.
One part of the story that will be interesting is how the film handles one of the most controversial scenes in the Joker’s history, wherein he shoots Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her from the waist down. He also takes nude pictures of her and uses the photos to torment Commissioner Gordon, whom he kidnaps. Some believe the novel infers that the Joker raped Barbara Gordon after shooting her. Moore’s other works, including Watchmen and V for Vendetta, don’t shy away for similarly mature content.
There has been no word if fellow animated series stars Kevin Conroy and Melissa Gilbert will return to play Batman and Barbara Gordon, respectively. Bob Hastings, who played Commissioner Gordon, passed away last year.
No release date has been announced for The Killing Joke, though Warner Bros. typically releases their animated adaptations to coincide with a theatrical release. With Batman v. Superman set to release next March and Suicide Squad hitting theaters on August 6, 2016, either of those timeframes seem likely.